Human cryopreservation technology has a history of more than half a century.
In 1964, physics teacher Robert Edinger published the book “The Immortal Prospects”, which initiated the research of modern cryonics technology.
The world’s earliest cryogenic human body preservation can be traced back to 1974, and the first frozen human body in liquid nitrogen is still intact.
James Bedford was a professor of physics in the United States. When he died of cancer, he chose a unique way of “handling” himself-freezing himself. Thus, he became the first person to be frozen in human history.
Decryption magical cryonics technology
called cryonics, refers to the death, in an appropriate manner immediately if the corpse, this by freezing, it is possible to revive at some point in the future. Cryonics technology is listed as one of the top ten unsolved mysteries of the human brain and the top ten future science and technology beyond human limits by the American Life Science Magazine.
Can cryonics technology become a medical treatment for ordinary people? Can people be resurrected after death?
Many people know about cryonics technology. But the specific freezing process and the resurrection technology after freezing, I am afraid that not many people can tell why.
American scientist Robert Ettinger, known as the “father of cryonics”, has devoted his life to promoting the freezing of human remains at ultra-low temperatures, waiting for the resurrection of new technologies in the future. Recently, the 92-year-old Eitinger passed away. His family kept it in cold storage according to his last wish, hoping that he would “live and die” one day.
Three philosophers in Oxford also plan to accept freezing human bodies “after death”. They are the director of the Oxford Institute for the Future of Humanity, 40-year-old philosophy professor Postram, 41-year-old researcher Sandberg and Armstrong. Armstrong ordered whole body freezing, and Postren and Sandberg ordered a cheaper service: only the head was frozen.
The mysterious cryonics factory
On the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, there is a gray single-story building with no windows on the exterior wall and the door is closed all year round. This mysterious building is not very conspicuous in the entire suburban industrial area. However, behind the closed door, the staff and volunteers of the “ALCOR Life Continuity Foundation” are busy conducting a controversial pioneering experiment— -Cryonics!
Walking into ALCOR’s laboratory is like falling into an ice cellar. The whole building is extremely cold throughout the year.
In the storage room of ALCOR, there is a set of stainless steel tanks, which maintain a low temperature of -196℃ all year round. In these huge metal containers glowing with cold light, the bodies and heads of 69 volunteers who participated in the freezing experiment were suspended in liquid nitrogen solution. These people are mostly terminally ill scientists and researchers, including football stars. They proposed refrigeration when there was no hope of survival.
Every volunteer signed a contract with ALCOR to refrigerate the remains before his death. If the whole remains are refrigerated, a refrigeration fee of 120,000 US dollars will be charged, and if the head is only refrigerated, only 50,000 US dollars, with instructions. Volunteers can preserve their temperament and character when they are resurrected in the future, but body shape is not included. Some volunteers were worried that they would have no money around them when they were resurrected in the future, so they bought an additional $50 insurance. Others were afraid that if they “woke up” after a few years and found that they did not have a relative or friend around them, they demanded that they be their favorites during their lifetime. The pets are also sent to ALCOR for refrigeration. So far, 26 pets have been refrigerated in ALCOR’s two small refrigerators.
Complex process of freezing
these volunteers is certainly not eager to resurrect a dead person directly into the steel pot with liquid nitrogen trouble, but to go through a series of complex processes.
Time is the key to the success or failure of the freezing process. Generally speaking, cryonics institutions have emergency teams that fly to the sickbeds of dying members to accompany them to prepare for the process. When the member’s heart stops beating and the doctor declares a legal death, the member becomes a patient in the freezing facility. At this time, the emergency team will put the body into ice water and restore the patient’s blood circulation and breathing with the help of a CPR machine. The tube is inserted into the body to drain the blood, and at the same time inject glycerin solvent to prevent frostbite, and then special drugs are needed. And a number of minor operations to prevent brain damage due to hypoxia. Researchers believe that because the patient’s brain has not been further damaged, people who have been treated in this way actually stopped dying.
After all this was completed, the patient was wrapped in a blanket and placed upside down in a stainless steel high-pressure tank filled with liquid nitrogen. The body temperature was slowly dropped to -196°C. It took about 5 days to reach the final temperature. If only the head is kept alone, the cooling rate can be faster. Then in the coming years, the liquid nitrogen in the steel tank will be changed twice a month to keep the required low temperature.
Tough road to resurrection
, then, is not dead after this treatment really one day revive it?
In fact, as early as the Nazi era, the Germans had experimented with captives. According to the observation records left at that time, when the body temperature drops to 35℃, the human body begins to tremble; when the temperature drops to 32.2℃, the muscles begin to contract; when it drops to 29.4℃～26.6℃, it becomes unconscious; if the temperature continues to drop, The heart stopped beating, and other internal organs and nervous system lost consciousness and died.
The human body is so unbearable to cold, how can it tolerate the temperature drop to -196℃? During the freezing process, muscles contract, internal organs cease to move, and nerves are paralyzed. When it comes to returning to normal body temperature, how is it possible to recover? This is an unsolved problem with cryopreservation. If this problem is not resolved, there will be no hope of resurrection.
Scientists have done such an experiment: Take a goldfish out of the water, and after the surface is slightly dry, immediately put it in liquid nitrogen and freeze it (-269°C). The goldfish was immediately frozen hard. After 10 minutes, put it in warm water, a miracle happened, the goldfish actually came back to life, swimming around casually. If the temperature is slowly lowered to the same temperature as the liquid nitrogen, the frozen goldfish cannot be revived. This is because when the temperature drops slowly, the volume of the water expands when it freezes, causing the goldfish cells to swell and die. When the temperature drops quickly, the water in the goldfish cells quickly freezes and it is too late to expand, so the cells are not damaged. However, it was later discovered that too fast freezing can also cause problems. In that case, the cells will become dehydrated and increase the salt content and decompose proteins, which will also lead to death.
This example tells us that if the animal body wants to be resurrected after being frozen, the key to this technology is to control the appropriate freezing and thawing speed so that the cells in the body are not damaged in the process. However, for a large and complex organism like humans, the cell composition and water content of various organs and tissues are different. It is not easy to determine an optimal freezing speed!
At present, scientists studying human cryosurgery technology have considered recruiting nano-scale molecular robots to repair damaged cells. For example, Japanese scientists have developed molecular-sized robots equipped with sensors and microcomputer systems. They hope that one day, these molecular robots can be placed in frozen human bodies to automatically perform data collection, analysis and repair, and treatment of damaged cells. If this can be done, then people don’t have to worry too much about the cooling rate.
Human cryopreservation technology has a history of more than half a century.